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Birzeit named best Palestinian University, ranked 50th in Arab world

By Lili Martinez - June 15, 2016
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Education] [Birzeit University]

Birzeit University was once again named the best university in Palestine in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) yearly ranking, and moved up eleven places to 50th place on QS’s list of the top 350 arab universities.

The university came out ahead of other Palestinian and Arab universities in several categories ranked by QS including student-teacher ratio, ratio of doctorate degree holders to teaching staff, number of published articles by members of the academic staff, academic reputation and web impact.

Dean of the the Graduate Studies Faculty Talal Shahwan said that Birzeit did well in this year’s rankings because of its strong showing in scientific research, its academic reputation, and its high numbers of inbound exchange students.

“Our investment in academia, research, innovation and community outreach have undergone a dramatic transformation in the past year,” Shahwan said in a statement. “The investment has allowed us to break new ground in the field of university performance metrics and analytical tools.”

Shahwan pointed out that political challenges and Israeli restrictions on entry and residency on foreign academics have severely diminished opportunities for faculty and course development, as well as to research programs. In times of political unrest, such as the 2014 Gaza war or the ongoing violence that began last October, Israel often cracks down on foreign students and academics traveling to study at Palestinian universities.

Birzeit enrolls approximately 12,000 students each year. The university offers 91 academic programs, 28 graduate studies programs, and one PhD program. Forty-five percent of students receive financial aid. The university also runs a study abroad program for foreign students, the Palestine and Arab studies program, which offers courses in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Palestinian dialect and political science of the Middle East.

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